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How Do Dentists Fix a Chipped Tooth?

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A graphic of the bottom, mandibular teeth with one tooth at the front chipped.

Maybe you were crunching on some ice, took a puck to the teeth, or have started to grind your teeth in your sleep. Whatever the culprit was, a chipped tooth can be startling, uncomfortable, and distressing. 

If you chip your tooth, it’s important to see your dentist soon, whether the chip is a small annoyance, or a painful emergency situation. Your dentist will do a comprehensive exam to determine the best way to repair your smile in as little as a single visit. 

Some chipped teeth may just need simple bonding to make them right, while others might require a little extra TLC.

What to Do if You Chip a Tooth

You may notice your chipped tooth because you can’t help but run your tongue over this new, unfamiliar spot in your mouth. If there is a jagged edge from the chip, cover the sharp area with a piece of sugar-free gum to protect your tongue, lips, and cheek until you can see the dentist.

If you’re in pain, try an over-the-counter pain medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen and apply ice to the area.

When Is a Chipped Tooth a Dental Emergency?

If you’re in severe pain or there’s a lot of blood coming from the area of the damaged tooth, treat this as a dental emergency. You can reach us at (587) 329-8031 and we will do our very best to get you a same-day emergency appointment.

In the meantime, rinse your mouth with water and apply gauze and pressure to the area that’s bleeding. This should stop the bleeding while you seek care.

In a case where the tooth has come out completely, do your best to find all parts of the tooth. Rinse the tooth in water to get off any debris, but don’t scrub it. Then, store the tooth in a clean container with cold milk and bring it with you to the dentist.

Do I Need to Go to the Dentist if I Chip My Tooth?

A chipped tooth is always worth seeing your dentist for. It’s possible there’s more going on in your mouth than you can see with your naked eye. You don’t want to ignore something that could become a bigger issue.

If a small chip isn’t causing you major discomfort, stay calm and book a dental appointment for as soon as reasonably possible. 

An infographic about how dentists can fix a broken tooth including polishing, bonding, veneers, crowns, and a root canal.

How Does a Dentist Fix a Chipped Tooth?

At your appointment, your dentist will do a visual inspection of your mouth and ask about your symptoms and how the tooth was chipped. They may take X-rays to look for any damage beneath the gum line. 

This exam will allow your dentist to assess how much of the tooth is missing and the health of the remaining tooth and surrounding gums. Then, your dentist can suggest the best treatment plan for your smile.

Polishing & Smoothing

A minor chip may be able to be addressed in a single visit with a polishing tool to smooth out any rough or broken edges.


Small chips can be repaired with a bit of bonding. Bonding uses a composite resin material matched to the colour of your tooth to restore a natural appearance.

Your dentist will shape and polish the bonding to blend it in with your tooth so your smile looks and feels familiar again.


For larger chips and missing pieces in the front of the mouth, a veneer might be your dentist’s recommendation. A veneer is a natural-looking porcelain cover for the front of your damaged tooth.

Veneers can be a beautiful part of your smile, but they may not be right for people who grind their teeth, as porcelain is vulnerable to chipping.


A crown, also known as a cap, is a hollow artificial tooth that protects the tooth beneath. It might be the right choice for affected molars or when a lot of the original tooth is damaged or missing.

If you require a crown, you’ll have an impression made of your remaining tooth so a custom crown can be crafted for you. You might have a temporary crown placed while the permanent one is being made. The permanent crown is designed to blend nicely with the surrounding teeth, allowing you to speak and eat comfortably.

Root Canal

In some cases, what may have seemed like a minor chip might, in fact, be a deeper crack in the tooth. If the crack extends down into the root of the tooth, your dentist may recommend a root canal. 

While root canals have a bad (and outdated) reputation for being painful, they’re actually very important for preventing pain and restoring the health of your smile. Your dentist can explain exactly what to expect from this common and effective procedure.

A dentist holding a polishnig tool with a patient smiling in the background.

Don’t Delay Seeing Your Dentist for a Chipped Tooth

Make sure to visit your dentist when you have a chipped tooth. Even though an unplanned trip to the dentist can be inconvenient, a damaged tooth carries a risk of infection, which could cause pain or a more expensive fix if it’s ignored.If you have questions about your dental health, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at Shawnessy Dental.

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